Mary K. Pistole oral history interview, 1993 March 27
Mary Pistole recounts her life and experiences in Charlotte during the Great Depression, World War II, and the postwar era. Mrs. Pistole grew up in the Myers Park neighborhood and was an eighth grader at Alexander Graham Junior High School when the United States entered into World War II. She describes Charlotte having air raid sirens and enforced blackouts at night, and how items like sugar and gas were rationed. Mrs. Pistole recalls that she had been downtown when news of President Roosevelt's death broke, and she describes the turmoil the news caused in the city. She also discusses the resentment directed against young married women who continued to work at the ammunitions plant after their husbands had returned home after the war. Mrs. Pistole describes the housing shortage Charlotte faced immediately after the end of the war, explaining how as newlyweds, she and her husband ended up living for a year in the Morris Field barracks, which had been converted into temporary apartments by the city. Mrs. Pistole had two daughters in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system during the first year of busing for school integration in 1970, and she discusses their experiences after being transferred to Harding High School and Oaklawn Elementary School. She also discusses owning her own business, Dilworth Florist, and changing trends in the floral business. She concludes by stating that she prefers the Charlotte of her childhood to the current day Charlotte because she believes that the city has torn down too much of its history. In her view, Charlotte at the time of interview is no longer the small country town that she remembers; there is too much crime, too much traffic, and the city's demographics have changed too much.